Carphone Warehouse Christmas Preview: Jawbone Icon, HTC Wildfire and Samsung Galaxy

Latest Gadgets were invited to view the range of phones and accessories available from Carphone Warehouse. There is a definite trend towards phones which act as a social hub as most phones integrate networking sites.


The Nokia N8 is for the budding film-makers out there. The multimedia has a HD video recorder with a 3.2” HD Touchscreen. It has an impressive 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. What makes this phone special is the ability to be linked up to a TV using the HDMI output.  The N8 has access to Web TV services providing channels like CNN and Paramount. In addition, it is also the first phone from Nokia to run Symbian^3, an update to the Symbian OS, which provides multi-touch, gesture support and faster response times. Nokia N8 will be available from 1st October with pricing to be announced.

We got to play with the HTC Wildfire. This phone is made for social networking. It comes with the Friendstream App which displays texts, emails, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr updates all in one place. You can post, tweet and upload without switching between apps. I found this so convenient to use. In addition, when a contact calls, their Facebook status, birthday will flash up along with their name and picture. It has 3.2” screen and a 5 megapixel camera. It is not quite as good as its big brother, HTC Desire due to the screen resolution but for a mid-range phone it is worth a consideration as it has some interesting features. It is currently available for free on a £20 a month contract.

Samsung Galaxy Europa was on show and got our hands on it. It is the only Android handset which comes with Music Anywhere preloaded. It provides access to your music from anywhere in the world.  It also includes Swype, allowing you to write a message by swiping your finger across the screen. Swype is responsive and fast to use. The Galaxy Europa has a 2.8” Touchscreen and 2 megapixel camera. Like the HTC it integrates social networking with convenient access to Facebook and Twitter. It runs Android 2.1 and is currently available from free on a £10 a month contract or £149.95 in PAYG.

Carphone Warehouse also had some accessories on show. We had a chance to try out the high-end bluetooth headset, Jawbone Icon. It comes in 6 styles to suit you. It is the only headset which shows the battery status on an iPhone screen. The audio voice can be customized online to one of 6 voices.  Icon can be customised with apps so that use your voice to text and email while you drive to keep your hands free. You can also connect to two phones at the same time. Available from £69.99 from Carphone Warehouse. Happy calling!

Nokia World E7, C7 and C6 review roundup

Nokia World – it sounds a bit like a theme park for mobile phone enthusiasts. Which is what it is – just remove the roller-coasters and people selling candy floss, and add in the fun of playing with unreleased mobiles and Nokia representatives touting their wares.

At this year’s event, the company unveiled three new mobiles – the E7, C7 and C6. If you’d like to know if these phones can reverse Nokia’s downward spiral, help them gain a foothold in the smartphone market and stop them being Apple and Google’s whipping-boy, read below for the internet’s opinion on the new handsets.


The E7: Smart for Businesses
Nokia’s current flagship mobile, the E7, is primarily aimed at business users. That’s why it has got Microsoft Exchange support for e-mail and a full QWERTY keyboard. Khidr Suleman at V3 considers the QWERTY offering, “easily … one of the best physical Qwerty keypads on the market. Letters are large and well spaced but not to a point where fingers or thumbs have to be stretched.”

However, Clare Hopping at IT Pro finds

“The kick slide [on the keyboard] a little hit and miss. It’s hard to get your fingers in the precise position to push it up in one sweep, although this could be a fault of the prototype E7 we examined, rather than the eventual, finished design. We sure hope so.”

Still, the new operating system seems to run brilliantly on the premium handset. Rob Coppinger of The Inquirer sings its praises, stating that “the new Symbian^3 OS … has the three homepages and an editor allowing you to change what is on each. Swiping from homepage to homepage is fluid as was accessing music files and other content.”

Which is perfect, because there are so many types of media supported that good file-browsing is essential. Ionut Arghire at Softopedia sums up the features nicely:

“Its multimedia capabilities expand with support for H.264, MPEG-4, VC-1, H.263, Real Video 10, ON2 VP6, Flash video and MP3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+, WMA, AMR-WB- AMB-NB, DRM support WM DRM, OMA DRM 2.0. The connectivity options of this handset include WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, HSDPA, Micro-USB 2.0, TV out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, as well as GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID positioning features.”

Luckily, Nokia have developed a new screen technology to show-off these media options. When Know Your Mobile compared it to the HD Desire, they proudly announced “the Nokia E7’s screen is much larger – 4-inches in total and with Nokia’s ClearBlack Display technology, it’s crystal clear with much richer colours. Winner? Nokia E7 because the screen is MASSIVE!”

C7 – Personal Media Consumption
“Running under the new Symbian^3 operating system, the Nokia C7 comes with high end features, packed inside a device that measures only 10.5mm thick”Ionut Arghire. What features, you ask? “The new mobile phone includes an 8-megapixel photo snapper with HD video recording capabilities, as well as a 3.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen display”.

The 8-megapixel camera and HD video recording are also found on the business-orientated E7 – and just like the E7, they’re disappointingly fixed-focused. The 3.5″ display means there is plenty of screen to play with, however. And it features the same ClearBlack technology as the E7. “Resolution-wise, the Nokia C7 isn’t the best of the bunch at 360×640 pixels, [but] it’s seamless and you really can’t see any pixels unless you look so close it’s uncomfortable and gives you eye ball ache,” says Clare Hopping.

C6 – People who can’t afford a C7
The C6 is Nokia’s entry level smartphone – and unfortunately, it seems like you can tell. Unlike the praise garnished on the new operating system when used on the other handsets, PC World viewed it less favourably, saying that they had “no solid verdict on Symbian^3”.

Despite being a lower resolution than the other phones (640×360), the beautiful ClearBlack screen is still pulling in the applause: “That screen’s pretty dazzling thanks to AMOLED and ClearBlack tech” explain Stuff.TV. “ClearBlack’s a Nokia-ism, but the brag of decent contrast isn’t an empty boast here. As you can see.”

It’s also got “an 8MP one on the back and a secondary camera on the front, for video calling. One of the most important features of the new smartphone,” Ionut Arghire attests.

The biggest winner here is Nokia’s new screen technology. It has been received with universal praise across all the product lines. The new Symbian operating system also seems to be doing well – at least on the E7 and C7 phones. Perhaps you can’t really judge it on the C6, which has an underpowered processor and not as much memory as the other two handsets. The neat features, such as the many homescreens and widgets, have also received plenty of praise.

The biggest problem however, is that Nokia still seem to be unclear on its product lines. Why include video chat on the low-end C6 and not the premium E7? Now whatever they choose, customers will have to sacrifice some functionality. Hopefully the success of the N8 – Nokia’s incoming super phone (which also doesn’t have a front-facing camera) will knock this debate out of the water. Hopefully.

UPDATE: We were pleased to be informed that all of the new handsets have a front-facing camera, as explained on Nokia’s product specification page. Perhaps it’s a testament to Nokia’s seamless design that a lot of reviewers (including ourselves) didn’t pick up on the glaringly obvious lenses mounted on the front of the phones.